Reducing the Cost of Conducting Election

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Reducing the Cost of Conducting Election

The increasing cost of conducting free, fair, peaceful and credible election is becoming a source of concern to all citizens.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the 2011 general election cost over one hundred and twelve billion naira while over one hundred and eight billion naira was expended on 2015.

A total amount of two hundred and forty-two billion naira was approved in the budget for the 2019 elections.

This amount excluded the costs that candidates of various political parties spent on obtaining nomination forms, bribing party bigwigs, posters, media adverts, renting crowds, foot soldiers and hiring thugs.

Furthermore, the costs must have tripled with the addition of various logistics on transportation, payment for venues and feeding supporters.

It is for this reason that the independent national electoral commission, INEC, is seeking ways to reduce the cost of conducting election in the country.

At a validation workshop on the study of the cost of elections in West Africa, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the cost of conducting elections keeps rising, making many countries unable to fund critical aspects of the electoral process as a sovereign responsibility.

Such processes include voter registration, compilation of  voters’ register, recruitment and training of electoral officials, provision of electoral logistics, election security, civic and voter education, procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials .

The INEC chairman noted that the task of meeting such expenditure has increasingly challenged the resources of many countries in the ECOWAS sub- region and that some countries were finding it difficult to fund the elections.

Report shows that cost of conducting elections in Nigeria is higher than those of the developed countries of the world.

For instance, Canada spent over three hundred million dollars on an election where over seventeen million people voted.

Also, United Kingdom spent over one hundred million pounds during its 2010 parliamentary elections in which over forty-five million people voted.

Over twenty-eight million pounds was used to distribute candidates’ mailings, while eighty-four million pounds was used for the conduct of the poll.

This goes to show that the country should not continue to spend large sums of money to elect politicians into public offices.

One way to cut costs is to cut down the huge expenses on security.

Nigeria should also borrow a leaf from other African countries like the Republic of Benin and Ghana where their electoral process is devoid of such practice.

INEC need not procure new ballot boxes if the ones used in previous elections are well kept.

All the materials used for the elections excluding the papers can be sourced locally to bring down election cost.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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